Practical do it yourself skills are a goal for many, the ability to not just change your oil but to open up the hood and fix a belt, to repair a window, or tinker with the plumbing to get the toilet draining right. Having these skills can go a long way to saving you money and headaches down the line. In that same spirit, we wanted to share with you how to fix cracks in asphalt driveways this time on the Sunrise Asphalt blog!
The most common cause of cracks in asphalt driveways is water finding its way below the asphalt surface, contracting and expanding as the temperatures freeze, thaw, and freeze again. This constant flux in size causes the aggregate that makes up the foundation of the asphalt to shift, as it shifts space is created and that space removes support for the top layer allowing for cracks to develop.
How to Fix Cracks in Asphalt Driveways
Like in all things, the first step is preparation! So gather the necessary materials and read on!
- Hammer and Chisel
- Wire brush
- Shop vac, air gun, or a garden hose
- Safety goggles
- Putty knife
- Caulking gun
- Crack filler
Prepare the Crack
Before the crack can be filled you need to create as clean and smooth a surface as possible to create a conducive environment for the crack filling material to bind to.
- Use the hammer and chisel (if necessary) to remove broken pieces of asphalt that are blocking up the crack.
- Use the wire brush to remove any debris and dirt from the crack.
- Put on your eye protection because this next step is going to send things flying!
- When the larger pieces of debris are removed, use a shop vac, air gun, or all else failing a garden hose, to blast the loose material from the crack.
Note: If you use a garden hose you need to let the crack dry completely before moving on.
Once the crack is thoroughly cleaned out (and dry if necessary) you are ready to begin fixing the crack in the asphalt.
Smaller Cracks ⅛ to ½ in
Repairing small cracks can be used with just the materials we have listed so far!
- Apply the crack filler using a caulk gun if you have it, otherwise, pour the filler carefully directly into the crack. This filler can stain the driveway so be careful!
- Use a putty knife to smooth the surface of the now filled crack. If you don’t have a putty knife you can use your finger (so long as you are wearing rubber gloves!)
- Allow the now repaired crack to cure and settle.
Larger Cracks > ½ in
Repairing deeper and wider cracks can be trickier! You may want to fill in the crack with crushed, angular gravel. Bring this up to the two-inch mark and don’t use larger or pea gravel, they shift easier and will not provide a great foundation. Then use a 4×4 post or a steel tamper if you have it to compact the gravel. Fill the crack with a cold process asphalt repair mix, compact and repeat til you have an even driveway.
Like we said, the most common cause of cracks is moisture so once you have the cracked filled and fixed, think about sealing your driveway and practice proper asphalt maintenance to prevent further cracks from developing! Give your driveway a day or two for the crack filler or patch to harden on the surface. The lower layers will need longer to fully cure so don’t go sealing too soon.
And that’s how to fix cracks in asphalt driveways! Now, it’s important to really take a closer look and try to understand what is causing these cracks to occur. While you may be able to repair the small ones you find using crack filler, there may be a deeper, underlying problem that is going to keep causing you headaches in the future.
If you suspect that to be the case then you want to call in professionals with the tools and experience to handle any job! Or if fixing it just seems like too much work for you? Call Sunrise Asphalt! Our Crafco hot crack filler can take care of any crack worth fixing – and if the repairs required are bigger larger than a crack fill, well you know we can do that too!